Glycol Distearate, Cocamide MEA and Dimethicone - what do these chemicals all have in common?
Blog post posted by Natural Skincare Authority on February 4, 2010 at 11:01pm
Today we are dealing with 3 low-moderately hazardous chemicals as part of our quest to find just how unsafe Pantene Pro-V Always Smooth 2 in 1 Shampoo really is. I say unsafe as our research so far has definitively shown that this product is indeed unsafe by NSA standards.
Previous blog posts show that we have found that Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate to be carcinogenic - cancer causing, among a host of other concerns; Ammonium Laureth Sulfate, Cetyl Alcohol, Sodium Benzoate, and Citric Acid all irritating to the eyes, skin and lungs among other concerns such as organ system toxicity, neurotoxicity and possibly even changes to the body on a cellular level. This is scary stuff when you consider the regularity and doses in which many of us use (or used to use) these products on a daily basis.
Today we will look closely at Glycol Distearate, Cocamide MEA and Dimethicone. These chemicals are numbers 5, 6 and 7 on the ingredient list on the Pantene Pro-V bottle. This tells us that they are higher comparative volume than many of the other chemicals in this product.
Glycol Distearate is used for skin-conditioning, and increasing and controlling thickness of the product. This chemical helps make the shampoo a nice thick gluggy shape on your palm and conditions skin by smearing softly onto the scalp.
In the infamous article about this Pantene Pro-V Shampoo on salon.com, Bill Bunn explains that glycol distearare provide the all-elusive "body" to hair, "Thickness also guarantees that people use more shampoo than necessary. There's salt, glycol distearate, cetyl alcohol, ammonium xylene sulfonate and others: body on tap." (Ref:www.salon.com, 2009)
The concerns for this chemical are mostly around its use as a food additive - yes that's right, they put this stuff in foods!!! And there has been insufficient toxicology studies to even endorse this use. Therefore, there is currently no way to know the damage this can cause to your health through exposure to skin and eyes. So the main concern for this chemical ingredient is the huge lack of information about its effects.
Cocamide MEA is mentioned specifically by Bill Bunn in his article on salon.com as being a very nasty addition to this shampoo. This chemical acts as a lathering agent increasing the viscosity or thickness of the lather, and of the hair.
The concerns for this product are that it is restricted in cosmetic use due to its hazardous nature and that this chemical may be contaminated with toxic inpurities. This is a huge concern as it is difficult to jduge 'safe' levels of this chemical if the chemical itself is carcinogenic.
This excerpt from Bill Bunn's article on salon.com tells us that lather is another much-desired effect of shampoo by consumers and the Cocamide MEA prodives this, and the nasty side effects to go with it.
"...where would we be without suds? Cleaning agents do tend to foam a little when they're used, but the bubbles don't affect the cleansing much. However, the extra lather helps convince the shampooer that the soap is working. Lathering agents are added to boost the suds, chemicals like cocamide MEA. This little devil, besides being toxic in a few ways, also helps the lather to stay once it's been raised, a sudsy Viagra, with the help of known associates like the plastic PEG-7M. Great lather for great-looking hair." (Ref: www.salon.com, 2009)
Dimethicone similarly to Glycol Distearate, is a skin-conditioning agent and skin protectant. By skin protectant, I am guessing they mean it coats the skin in a chemical which forms some sort of barrier. Whether this serves to protect the skin or not could be debated, especially considering that the Dimethicone itself is a moderately hazardous chemical.
Concerns for this chemical include restrictions on use in cosmetics and whether these are adhered to with precision during manufacturing to ensure human safety. There are also concerns for organ system toxicity and eco-system toxicity.
What do these chemical ingredients have in common? They are all injected into a silky smooth product, packaged in a fancy bottle, marketed to us by experts in marekting (not experts in human health), and sold to us as the missing piece in the beauty jigsaw puzzle that we are all desperately trying to assemble...
These chemicals do not clean hair, they stroke emotions.
Tomorrow we will look very closely at one of my favourites, Fragrance.
Yours in Natural Skincare,
References: 1. www.salon.com, 2. www.cosmeticsdatabase.com, 3. www.natural-skincare-authority.com/skincare-toxins.html
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